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Old 09-07-2012, 12:00 PM   #16
BenG
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Audible has several versions available and sometimes it is hard to tell from the descriptions which translation they're using; but the unabridged version read by Simon Callow is the Fagles book.

edit: From the reviews on Amazon, it seems the Charlton Griffin-narrated one is the Allen Mandelbaum translation.

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Old 09-15-2012, 10:53 AM   #17
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Just as a reminder, we're starting our group read of The Aeneid on Monday. And if you just can't wait any longer, you're welcome to crack it this weekend.

If anyone is on the fence or would like to join in but hasn't considered translations, the excellent Mandelbaum translation is only $1.99 at Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and Sony.
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Old 09-16-2012, 10:58 AM   #18
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Starting reading on Monday? I will attempt to participate in that.
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Old 09-16-2012, 11:50 AM   #19
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I read Mandelbaum in college and I loved it. This time around, I've decided that having enjoyed Fagles so much with Homer, I'd stick with him for Virgil.
I didn't know Fagles had branched out into Latin literature. His translations of Homer and Sophocles are without equal. You will have to let us know if the same holds for Virgil.
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Old 09-16-2012, 01:32 PM   #20
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Starting reading on Monday? I will attempt to participate in that.
Welcome back! So glad to see you.
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Old 09-16-2012, 01:41 PM   #21
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I just grabbed a Latin version on Gutenberg and started reading. My doctor has me on bed rest for a few more days, so this will be a great way to pass the time. I read several of the books of the Aeneid during my undergraduate and graduate studies in Latin, but I have never read it all the way through from the beginning, embarrassingly.
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Old 09-16-2012, 11:09 PM   #22
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I've been searching for a translation to read, and have finally, at the last minute, decided on the Frederick Ahl translation from Oxford World's Classics. Honestly, I'm not sure if this is the best choice but I've found less information on the various translations for Virgil online compared to Homer and none seem the perfect match for me like Lattimore did for Homer.

Spoiler:
I had narrowed it down to Fitzgerald and Ahl first, and then decided on Ahl, despite his being a recent translation that isn't well-known, because he, like Lattimore, decided to try to match something of the original metre while also trying to retain the feel of the original text and be as faithful as possible. Lattimore spoiled me a bit in that regard. Ahl also appears to be the first and only English translator who has tried to translate most of the puns, anagrams and wordplay of Virgil.

However, reading reviews of Ahl, some mention it can, unlike Lattimore, be clunky, include some too-modern/hip translation and awkwardly continue sentences or thoughts onto the next line, sometimes only for one last word.

I compared a few different translations. There's a review on the Amazon Ahl translation page that compares the opening lines of the Fagles, Ruden and Ahl, where I liked Ahl the best. Then I also looked at a site that compared certain lines of the Fagles, Cobbold, Lombardo, Caldwell, McCrorie, West, Sisson, Fitzgerald, Copley and Mandelbaum. And I also previewed the Fitzgerald opening lines in Amazon preview.

Of the rest, I liked Fitzgerald, which I think was also second-runner up for me in choosing my Homer translations (always a bridesmaid...), but the Ahl was too tempting. After sampling more in Amazon preview, despite the negatives listed here and in some reviews and while I could see a bit of the clunkiness right away in the first lines, the Ahl has a vivacity and toughness and poetic quality to it, which he was striving for, and that combined with its fidelity to the original text sold me. I also liked the conciseness of Ahl compared to Fitzgerald; the Aeneid opening lines which Ahl translated in seven took 12 for Fitzgerald.

Here's the Ahl opening lines if curious:

Quote:
Arms and the man I sing of Troy, who first from its seashores,
Italy-bound, fate's refugee, arrived at Lavinia's
Coastlands. How he was battered about over land, over high deep
Seas by the powers above! Savage Juno's anger remembered
Him, and he suffered profoundly to establish a city,
Settle his gods into Latium, making this land of the Latins
Future home of the Elders of Alba and Rome's mighty ramparts.
As a huge plus, since I love good helpful annotations, this translation is filled with them.

Oddly, at the Sony store, there seem to be two versions of the exact same book, just with different covers and different price points. My best guess is that they've somehow decided to make one version from the hardback and one from the softcover. I'm going for the cheaper one, hoping there is no difference!

Perhaps I should've chosen a more recommended version but I think it'll be fun to read a translation that isn't so well-known and I hope for the best.

Last edited by sun surfer; 09-16-2012 at 11:19 PM.
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Old 09-17-2012, 01:48 AM   #23
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Being a slow reader, I thought I'd start ahead of schedule. I have the English prose version translated by F.W. Jackson Knight, and the introduction by the translator was a bit dull, and left me wondering if I made a mistake by taking this on. Well, now that I've started reading the story, my fear is that I'll gobble the whole thing too quickly. Two books in and I'm well and truly hooked, and can't wait to see what happens next. I can't believe I let this paperback sit on my shelves for twenty-five years without reading it! Thanks for starting this, issybird; you've done me a big favour.

Last edited by rkomar; 09-17-2012 at 02:32 AM. Reason: Clarified the type of the translation.
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:18 AM   #24
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I have started the introduction to the Fagles translation, which is giving me a helpful quick refresher course on Roman history, so I'm quite enjoying it.

I hope to have more time for reading tomorrow - today was mainly a gardening day as spring is sprung down here.
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Old 09-17-2012, 06:33 PM   #25
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What I didn't know until I read the brief bio on Virgil in this edition is that, since he realised he was going to die without fully finishing it as he wanted, he wanted the work burned! Lucky us they didn't let him have his way!
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:52 PM   #26
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We’ve got a warrior fleeing the aftermath of war at sea, beset by storms and divine wrath. It’s impossible not to think we’ve been here before, and Virgil makes it explicit with mentions of the Cyclops and Scylla and Charybdis. And yet, very 1984-ishly, the good guys and bad guys have somehow swapped sides and the gods all have new names.

So one ongoing question for me will be just how derivative is Virgil, and does it matter? If he tells a cracking good story in a new idiom? I admit that as an American, I have an emotional horse in this race! This is where I hope Latinandgreek, if she’s up to it, and other classical scholars will give us the benefit of some textual analysis of the original. While I’m going to follow L&g’s lead and download the Latin text from Gutenberg, I can’t pretend that after decades my Latin will be up to anything except getting the swing of the verse and just perhaps picking up on a bit of wordplay.

In the meantime, after the first book, and given that Virgil (as did Homer) has started off in medias res, I can’t wait to see what happens next. And before. Poor Dido!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rkomar View Post
Being a slow reader, I thought I'd start ahead of schedule. I have the English prose version translated by F.W. Jackson Knight, and the introduction by the translator was a bit dull, and left me wondering if I made a mistake by taking this on. Well, now that I've started reading the story, my fear is that I'll gobble the whole thing too quickly. Two books in and I'm well and truly hooked, and can't wait to see what happens next. I can't believe I let this paperback sit on my shelves for twenty-five years without reading it! Thanks for starting this, issybird; you've done me a big favour.
So glad! I'm looking forward to the discussion. What do you think about what's happened so far? If someone gets way ahead, it would be nice to use spoiler tags, but within the parameters of the week to week discussion, please have at it.

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I just grabbed a Latin version on Gutenberg and started reading. My doctor has me on bed rest for a few more days, so this will be a great way to pass the time. I read several of the books of the Aeneid during my undergraduate and graduate studies in Latin, but I have never read it all the way through from the beginning, embarrassingly.
I hope Virgil helps pass the time and that you're better soon. Thanks for the mention of Gutenberg; I shall hie my way there shortly.
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:03 PM   #27
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If someone gets way ahead, it would be nice to use spoiler tags, but within the parameters of the week to week discussion, please have at it.
The main emotion I came away with after the first book was sadness, seeing how welcoming the Carthaginians were towards the Trojans, while knowing that they will become mortal enemies before the end of the tale. I smell the work of Juno in that already. Virgil really does make her out to be the ultimate "bitch".

The second book is Aeneas' description of the sack of Troy (I really hope I haven't spoiled anything by saying that for anyone). I found it to be amazingly gripping, and so much like what I imagine war to be like (full of confusion, hot/cold running emotions of defiance/fear/bloodlust/exultation/grief/vengeance/apathy...). It just doesn't feel like fiction, more like what you hear from interviews of survivors after major battles, even today. Characters in other sagas (including The Iliad and The Odyssey) have always felt cartoonish to me, but not in The Aeneid, and that's what floors me most of all.
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:43 AM   #28
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We’ve got a warrior fleeing the aftermath of war at sea, beset by storms and divine wrath. It’s impossible not to think we’ve been here before, and Virgil makes it explicit with mentions of the Cyclops and Scylla and Charybdis.
And, in fact, as we read on, we find that Aeneas is hot on the heels of Odysseus - about 3 months behind him in his travels, in fact.
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:46 AM   #29
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The main emotion I came away with after the first book was sadness, seeing how welcoming the Carthaginians were towards the Trojans, while knowing that they will become mortal enemies before the end of the tale. I smell the work of Juno in that already. Virgil really does make her out to be the ultimate "bitch".
What we have to remember here is that Virgil was setting out to write an "origins myth" for Rome and, in the course of doing that, to explain the origin of the emnity which existed between Rome and Carthage. So any reader would have already known the "outcome" - that Rome and Carthage were traditional enemies. Virgil was providing an explanation about how that came about.
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Old 09-19-2012, 04:36 PM   #30
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finally back from the library with obviously too many versions (must be seven or eight), so my first job will have to be settling on one - hope to be able to catch up with you. ONe of the versions has the Latin original, but while I am guess I'll get the gist of it, my Latin is so ancient that I won't even pretend I'll have a go at it!
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